Raynella Leath: The Widow on Solway Road

Produced by Josh Gaynor and Lisa Freed

“48 Hours” kicks off its 30th anniversary season with a rare look inside a controversial case: the State of Tennessee versus Raynella Leath. She’s been called a black widow after two of her husbands died under unusual circumstances.

David Leath was found shot to death in the couple’s bed. Raynella, a nurse, called 911 to report finding her husband shot dead. There was no evidence linking her to the weapon or the shooting.

“There was more than one shot,” says District Attorney Steve Crump. “And while that’s not unheard of – well, it didn’t look like a suicide scene.”

“Everything good about this woman was twisted,” says Leath’s defense attorney Josh Hedrick. “Everything good about this woman was turned around to be evil. There’s not any real evidence to suggest a homicide.”

Raynella Leath went on trial earlier this year for the third time. “48 Hours” and correspondent Erin Moriarty were there and gained rare access to attorneys on both sides, family members, jurors and even the judge in a case that ended in a way that no one saw coming. But that’s not all. Moriarty also reveals key details jurors never heard.


Inside the county courthouse in Knoxville, Tennessee, a real-life drama is taking place that rivals any Southern Gothic novel.

Judge Paul Summers: Let the record reflect that all the jurors are in the box and all parties are present. 

Defense attorney Josh Hedrick: I’m Josh Hedrick.  We haven’t met before, have we?

Witness: No, we haven’t.

Josh Hedrick: It’s a pleasure.

Diane Fanning | Author: This is not a story that would happen in a sleepy … New England town. It’s too Southern.

Maggie Dossett | Witness: He would bring her a rose once a week and they would go out to dinner.

Diane Fanning: There is the gentility.

Josh Hedrick [in court addressing Judge Summers]: With your permission, I’ll remove my coat because I had some difficulty with it previously.

Diane Fanning:  And underneath that very respectable surface it seems…

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